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Why does it take 3 years to build a ride?

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
I know this doesn't affect all projects so I'll use Pandora as an example. Plants and trees, one of the things they did very early in the project was the planting. It takes time for these things to root and grow no preplaning can hurry that along. I worked industrial construction for 35 yrs. I would tell people it takes a woman 9 mo. To have a baby not 9 woman one mo. Sometimes logistics dictate these things, example stacking trades. You can't bring the rug guy in till the floor gets installed.
It would be real interesting to see the critical path work breakdown.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Contractors love rework as long as there is a change order clause in contract. Another reason WDW projects are so expensive.
Change orders are part of standard contracts and are definitely part of Disney’s. A change order is required for changes that impact fee and/or time and a cost plus fee contract reduces changes to fee since there is no prenegotiated total sum.
 

danlb_2000

Premium Member
I always thought Disney took their time so they could space out attraction openings. This way we get "The Summer of Star Wars" The Summer of Ratatouille" "The Summer of the Guardians of the Galaxy." They could build all 3 and have them open on the same day but to attract people to come back it's better to have something new each year.

But that doesn't explain construction time. You can space out opening no matter if the construction takes one year or three years.
 

kurtk

Well-Known Member
One constant has remained throughout all of the back and forth in this thread, and that is that it is a total joke to take 3 years to build a freaking roller coaster.
But this isn't just a roller coaster. It is an indoor roller coaster which means there is a building to build before you start building the coaster itself. Then there is the theming which most amusement parks don't have. I grew up in PA and loved HersheyPark but their coasters were very different. More thrilling with less theming. Not decorated queue at all.
With the exception of Master Yoda, how many of you have experience in building rides or construction in general?
If you can speed up the process, please get a job at Disney and do so. But I guess complaining on the internet is much easier.
 
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Nubs70

Well-Known Member
But this isn't just a roller coaster. It is an indoor roller coaster which means there is a building to build before you start building the coaster itself. Then there is the theming which most amusement parks don't have. I grew up in PA and loved HersheyPark but their coasters were very different. More thrilling with less theming. Not decorated queue at all.
With the exception of Master Yoda, how many of you have experience in building rides or construction in general?
If you can speed up the process, please get a job at Disney and do so. But I guess complaining on the internet is much easier.
Proper planning, staffing, and job scheduling does not result in a 36+ month critical path.
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
But this isn't just a roller coaster. It is an indoor roller coaster which means there is a building to build before you start building the coaster itself. Then there is the theming which most amusement parks don't have. I grew up in PA and loved HersheyPark but their coasters were very different. More thrilling with less theming. Not decorated queue at all.
With the exception of Master Yoda, how many of you have experience in building rides or construction in general?
If you can speed up the process, please get a job at Disney and do so. But I guess complaining on the internet is much easier.
The building is assembled around the coaster.

How to speed up the process is not really a complicated secret. Disney just doesn’t have the desire or anyone with enough internal power to push through that sort of change.
 

Kingtut

Well-Known Member
I would argue that Skyscrapers at that time were a very common building. Starting in the late 1800's through the 1930's, there were dozens of skyscrapers being built in New York and around the US. During this same time frame, the title of "tallest skyscraper" changed hands 11 times meaning creating buildings of exceptional height wasn't uncommon. I think you also need to look at the crew to see why it got created so fast. In the initial phases, they had 600 men who ran two 12 hour shifts. At it's peak, the crew was somewhere around 3,500 workers. All these factors combined (plus the enormous amount of money to finance it all) is why it got done so fast.



I agree that people like us will always go in massive numbers and Disney is letting Universal play catch up. Let me expand on why I think Universal is not thinking long term.
  • They currently have all their equity tied up into Harry Potter. No doubt this has made them an unfathomable amount of money and it really is a engineering marvel but what happens in a year or so once the next fantastic beast movie is done and no new entries are being added. The only planned changes post the next movie are a retooling of the dueling dragons coaster and some Christmas / Light shows on the Hogwarts castle. As the next generation grows up without Harry Potter being as big as it is now, I can see problems. This is where I think building lands around concepts makes much more sense than franchises.
  • The current lineup for 2018 is a fast and the furious ride, a Jimmy Fallon attraction, and some new hotels and expansion of Volcano bay. None of these would drive me to say that I absolutely need to go to Universal on my next trip to Florida. The Super Nintendo World for 2020 looks really interesting and will be successful and that's because it relays on a theme as opposed to a specific franchise. This would allow them to create new rides whenever they want and keep it fresh which is what I feel that should be doing for long term success.
  • They purchased a huge portion of land (over 400 acres) back in 2015 but so far haven't announced any preliminary plans for it. If you are buying a huge amount of land like that, the natural assumption is another park. The fact that nothing has been done with it so far to me suggests that they might not have a fully fleshed out plan which means it just sitting there not making Universal money

I believe there are some legal issues with the Universal land purchase - Uni owns the land but some previous developer claims control of just what they can put there - another case of lawyers getting paid and someone trying to get money from someone else. Even God didn't send a plague of lawyers to the Egyptians.

I suspect the Uni has an announcement ready to go as soon as these issues are resolved.
 
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spock8113

Well-Known Member
As with any large scale projects, i'm sure there are a number of factors which could include things like:
  • Creating the initial design and blueprints
  • Obtaining permits
  • Gathering materials and scheduling crews
  • Weather, unforeseen issues.
There are however a number of unique challenges for Disney in addition to the usual reasons above like:
  • Dismantling and repair of the existing ride if one is being replaced
  • Construction of brand new building and connections with existing buildings
  • Safety Testing
  • IP management (specifically for GotG there is at least another movie in development so they are probably holding off on that to avoid changes if the script kills off or changes any main plot points)
  • Imagineering fine combing details post construction
  • Dealing with the fallout of closing an attraction that might be high volume or loved for long periods of time
Now the argument could be made that Universal has many of these same challenges but still manages to pump out rides in just a year or two time frame. While Universal manages to accomplish this task, I can't help but feel they may be pumping out items in the short term while not thinking about the long term whereas Disney is doing the opposite. New rides I can see taking a few years to develop but simple refurbishments shouldn't take as long (like the recent pirates changes).


This really says it all. Being somewhat familiar with construction like this, there is all of the above to consider plus:
Putting out bids, dealing with labor unions:
You have Heavy equipment operators, masons, carpenters, Iron workers, electricians, plumbers, HVAC, sheet metal workers and host of other trades

Then there's scheduling site prep, scheduling equipment that will now be used on numerous sites, scheduling concrete pours, deliveries and how to isolate the general public for safety.

The construction process is not as simple as it used to be and I'm not familiar with Florida laws, but I don't think they're much different from other states.
 

cmb5002

Well-Known Member
Contractors love rework as long as there is a change order clause in contract. Another reason WDW projects are so expensive.
10747d1215545638-have-any-you-seen-contract_change_order.jpg
 

Master Yoda

Pro Star Wars geek.
Premium Member
Not to mention that a decently designed hotel should also be quite repetitive and modular.
They should be but they are often not.

You would be surprised how a little jog here or there that looks nice from the street can seriously complicates the design. Also like any other profession, there are good architects and bad architects. Some think about repetitive design, others have their vision and they will be damned if anyone alters it.

I have seen you average "rectangle from the outside" looking 4-6 story hotels that are well thought out and end up with maybe 50 truss profiles while others of the same size and shape have several hundred.
 
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t0cableguy

New Member
Sooo.... my 2c.

Disney has its own codes (the strictest in the country). This ride is being built indoors. So the Roller-coaster has to be built BEFORE the building is wrapped around it. Not only that, once the building is wrapped around it, the STRICTEST BUILDING CODES IN THE COUNTRY have to be applied to the INDOOR building. If this was an outdoor roller-coaster... eh.. probably 6 months would suffice from the beginning of groundbreaking to the end. It could very well possibly be done.

2nd... Environmental is ultra important to Disney. if not from an actually caring side, but from a PR and financial importance. Disney is in the spotlight before building is begun. You guys that follow new construction know best..... SWFMD is where we get our initial information about new construction... Look at the Gondola transportation system.. It was predicted probably 6 months before it was even approved.

3rd.. It rains in florida. and it gets extremely hot during the summer. Until the roof gets put on (and even after it gets put on) Construction is at the whim of any random weather. DIsney makes sure to account for this so that they aren't putting the finishing touches on in the last week of the build.

4th (which probably should be first) Employee safety is serious, in a more serious way than ever before. Consider this to be an industrial power plant site where you are being birddogged by the disney rep all day long to catch you doing questionable stuff. Then factor in job safety analysis, job hazard analysis, Hot work permits, lock out tagout, and all the other various safety paperwork to go along.. This could easily eat up a year just in paperwork for the manhours. Litigation is so easy when you dont dot those i's and cross the t's but when you have a planned discussion on paper then there is no excuse.. therefore no way to sue Disney because you fell off a boom lift 50 feet in the air not wearing a harness and running over a telephone pole laying in a field.


Tie ins to the chilled water systems have to be done in the appropriate season.

This is a huge building alone.. and then they are putting a rollercoaster inside it.

Be patient. It might even open earlier than planned... lol
 

lazyboy97o

Well-Known Member
Disney has its own codes (the strictest in the country). This ride is being built indoors. So the Roller-coaster has to be built BEFORE the building is wrapped around it. Not only that, once the building is wrapped around it, the STRICTEST BUILDING CODES IN THE COUNTRY have to be applied to the INDOOR building. If this was an outdoor roller-coaster... eh.. probably 6 months would suffice from the beginning of groundbreaking to the end. It could very well possibly be done.
The EPCOT Building Code is not even the most restrictive code in Florida. Disney does have to comply with two building codes, the EPCOT Building Code and the Florida Building Code. The more restrictive code must be followed and while it is generally EPCOT, there are instances where Florida is more restrictive.
 

Nubs70

Well-Known Member
Sooo.... my 2c.

Disney has its own codes (the strictest in the country). This ride is being built indoors. So the Roller-coaster has to be built BEFORE the building is wrapped around it. Not only that, once the building is wrapped around it, the STRICTEST BUILDING CODES IN THE COUNTRY have to be applied to the INDOOR building. If this was an outdoor roller-coaster... eh.. probably 6 months would suffice from the beginning of groundbreaking to the end. It could very well possibly be done.

2nd... Environmental is ultra important to Disney. if not from an actually caring side, but from a PR and financial importance. Disney is in the spotlight before building is begun. You guys that follow new construction know best..... SWFMD is where we get our initial information about new construction... Look at the Gondola transportation system.. It was predicted probably 6 months before it was even approved.

3rd.. It rains in florida. and it gets extremely hot during the summer. Until the roof gets put on (and even after it gets put on) Construction is at the whim of any random weather. DIsney makes sure to account for this so that they aren't putting the finishing touches on in the last week of the build.

4th (which probably should be first) Employee safety is serious, in a more serious way than ever before. Consider this to be an industrial power plant site where you are being birddogged by the disney rep all day long to catch you doing questionable stuff. Then factor in job safety analysis, job hazard analysis, Hot work permits, lock out tagout, and all the other various safety paperwork to go along.. This could easily eat up a year just in paperwork for the manhours. Litigation is so easy when you dont dot those i's and cross the t's but when you have a planned discussion on paper then there is no excuse.. therefore no way to sue Disney because you fell off a boom lift 50 feet in the air not wearing a harness and running over a telephone pole laying in a field.


Tie ins to the chilled water systems have to be done in the appropriate season.

This is a huge building alone.. and then they are putting a rollercoaster inside it.

Be patient. It might even open earlier than planned... lol
Again, proper planning and staffing can bring the project to completion in much less than 36 months within the limitations and externalities listed.
 

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